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Apologies for casting back a few comments, but I must respond to VK’s note of 17.28 yesterday.

VK, you say that “This is not a government responsibility. The airports are privately run concerns, and it is for those companies to assess the financial implications of this on their own bottom line.”

I agree. But this raises a much larger question (which I alluded to in my post of 12.02 yesterday). The cost of the disruption has not fallen on BAA, but on the travelling public. How do you make BAA factor this into their decision on whether to spend the (small) amount of money on snow-delay prevention equipment? To the beancounters at Ferrovial it looks very like a case of “if we spend the money we pay, others benefit; if we don’t, we save, others suffer”. No contest – especially if you are sitting in Madrid.

One may talk of hits to BAA’s reputation, but what monetary cost does this have? They are the monopoly owner of the UK’s premier airport, and unless they are fined by government tens of millions of pounds for this totally unacceptable failure, they will mouth apologies and platitudes and continue to put their (Spanish) shareholders’ interests above the UK public’s.